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Pew: Voting Changes In Colorado Brought Down Cost

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio / File

File: Voters choose their candidates at the polls during an election in 2014.

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio / File

A new report from the Pew Charitable Trusts suggests election changes in Colorado that are drawing interest from California leaders have made voting easier while reducing costs.

Under a 2013 law, Colorado mails ballots to all registered voters. Voters can also register on the day of the election and cast ballots in-person at any polling location in their county, instead of only their local precinct.

David Becker, election initiatives director at Pew, says the changes reduced the state’s reliance on provisional ballots, which have a greater chance of being rejected and can drive up cost.

"Colorado saw reduction of nearly 98 percent of provisional ballots that they offered, as a result of this new election system, [which is] very similar to what California is considering," Becker says.

The report finds each vote in Colorado’s 2014 general election cost the state under $10, down from nearly $16 in 2008.

"We need to look at additional data over some more elections," Becker says. "But initial data seems to suggest a very good impact on cost."

The California Secretary of State, as well as some lawmakers and county election officials, have called for adopting a system similar to Colorado’s.

The Secretary of State expects legislation, which passed the state Assembly last year, to come up again this year.

Ben Bradford

State Government Reporter

As the State Government Reporter, Ben covers California politics, policy and the interaction between the two. He previously reported on local and state politics, business, energy, and environment for WFAE in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Read Full Bio